Birthday Boy Ben Shelton’s Heartwarming Act Towards a Struggling Ballkid at Shanghai Masters Draws Novak Djokovic Parallels as He Wins Over the Fans

Published 10/09/2023, 3:44 AM EDT

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Since the US Open, Ben Shelton has harbored a conflicting image in the eyes of the media and the fans. Due to his antics against Novak Djokovic, he drew a lot of flak and divided the fanbase. Some consider him brash and boorish, while some like his spirit. Shelton might change the minds of the former as his gesture in China with a ball girl is winning hearts.

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His gesture reminded many of Novak Djokovic, as the Serbinator also made the day of a ball kid with a similar gesture to Shelton’s. The two players have shown endearing moments where they win over the entire tennis world. Right now, it is Shelton’s turn.

Ben Shelton wins over the tennis world


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The 20-year-old American player has made quite the name for himself as he fought hard in the US Open to make it to the semis. Since then, he has gained many fans, who are now supporting him as he steps into the Shanghai Masters. In Shanghai, he is gaining many fans again, but not due to his tennis abilities. He teamed up with Hubert Hurkacz for doubles, but the match was washed out.

Rain took over, and a break was called first. As Shelton and Hurkacz sat down to wait for the weather to clear up, the ball girls held up umbrellas for the two players. Shelton, in a heartwarming gesture, asked the ball girl to sit next to him, and the two shared the umbrella. A video of the incident was shared by the Tennis Letter on their ‘X’ page with the caption, “Ben Shelton sharing his umbrella with a ball girl during his doubles match with Hubi Hurkacz 🥹“.


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As Shelton comes into the limelight for this move, fans were reminded of the Djoker doing the same in the 2014 French Open.

Memorable Shanghai Masters Debut for Ben Shelton Comes with a Moment of ‘Worst’ Self-Assessment in a Long Exchange with the Umpire

Fans reminded of Djokovic’s endearing gesture

In the 2014 French Open, one of Djokovic’s matches rained heavily, and play stopped. He went to the bench where the ball boy held an umbrella for him. Djokovic decided that the ball boy would sit next to him. The ball kid held up the umbrella for the two of them, and they shared a drink while the play was paused. As many commented on the video, Shelton’s gesture reminded fans of Djokovic.

One fan stated that it was his turn to copy the 24-time grand slam champion.

Another fan said that Shelton was just trying to gain public recognition by copying Djokovic. 

Yet another fan stated that he was trying hard to become like the Djoker.

While some said he was copying Djokovic, some appreciated the gesture.

One user loved the gesture and wrote Shelton’s name with a heart emoji.


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Since Shelton gained a ‘spoiled image’ in the eye of the public, one user felt that he was overcoming that nature. 


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Although endearing, Shelton’s gesture did not win over some of his critics. No one knows what went through Shelton’s mind then, but his move has fans split again on his birthday. Give us your thoughts in the comments.

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Written by:

Ripunjay Gaba


One take at a time

Ripunjay is a Tennis writer with an unwavering passion for the sport and a deep admiration for Roger Federer. He specializes in providing in-depth coverage of everything related to the 'Swiss Maestro.' Ripunjay's love for tennis is evident in the quality of his writing, which is characterized by its clarity, depth, and insightful analysis.
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Edited by:

Tony Thomas




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